Customer Success story: columbia distributing

What's on tap from Columbia Distributing?

Successful Sales Operations.

"It's a competitive business; there’s only so much grocery store shelf space or tap handles in a bar. To keep up, you have to be strategic in how you’re presenting your product to your consumers. We need to constantly evaluate our work and be positioned to collect data, analyze it, and act on those insights. CRM allows us to do this.”

- Alyssa Wood, Project Manager, Columbia Distributing

Who is Columbia Distributing?

Based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Distributing serves a customer base of retailers and restauranteurs throughout the Pacific Northwest. They are one of the country’s largest malt beverage distributors and employ approximately 3,100 people.

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Columbia Distributing has 300 sales people who are in the field selling for most of the day. Their work primarily involves completing onsite surveys to assess how stores and bars display their products. Columbia initially hired a different partner to integrate Dynamics 365 with a custom iOS mobile application. They found this previous partner to be unresponsive and unable to fix the existing bugs within the application. The leadership team decided to improve the app and invest in a new partnership with Sonoma Partners.

Columbia Distributing Project Fast Facts:

  • # of Employees: 4,500
  • Headquarters: Portland, OR
  • Industry: Wholesale & Distribution
  • Platform: Dynamics 365
  • Device: iPad

The Challenge:

  • Fix their existing, unstable iOS app that was difficult to extract meaningful data from
  • Standardize the process for conducting onsite surveys and improve quality control tracking
  • Improve mobile functionality and UX flow of the app to improve usability in the field

The Solution:

  • Re-deploy an upgraded mobile application that works in the field and on-the-go with fewer glitches
  • Incorporate accurate, up-to-date product information within the application to push products strategically at the point-of-sale
  • Build easy-to-read dashboard displays to surface critical data to management gathered by sellers in the field

The Result:

  • The new mobile app effectively surfaces valuable information, such as consumption rates and in-store marketing efforts with suppliers
  • Quantity and quality of data has improved, as sales team members report in real-time and in a strict format
  • Standardized screens and pre-programmed options allow reps to differentiate products based on what they’re seeing on tap at the sites they’re visiting
  • A controlled and consistent data collection process that allows Columbia Distributing to see the big picture of how they’re performing as a sales organization, and not just based on individual sellers
  • Columbia’s analytics department can compile data to understand what’s going on in the field and therefore forecast sales more accurately